John Paul II Expected in Damascus on May 5

With Stopover in Malta, to Follow in St. Paul´s Footsteps

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2001 ( John Paul II will visit Syria on May 5, an official in Damascus said.

Archbishop Isidore Battikha, of the Greek-Melkite patriarchate of Antioch, Syria, announced Monday the date of John Paul II´s visit.

The Pontiff will arrive in this city as part of his personal pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Paul. On Jan. 25, the Pope confirmed his intention to travel to Syria, without giving a date, explaining that with this pilgrimage he hoped to contribute to «reconciliation and peace among Christians.»

John Paul II should arrive in Syria after a stopover in Malta. Vatican Radio reported that Cardinal-designate Roberto Tucci, in charge of preparations for papal trips, is now in Malta.

Archbishop Battikha said during a press conference that John Paul will meet with President Bashar Assad and discuss the Mideast peace process, among other things.

There is no confirmation of a papal stopover in Athens, also in the footsteps of the Apostle to the Gentiles. On Jan. 24, Greek President Constantinos Stephanopoulos made a formal invitation to the Bishop of Rome in the Vatican. The plan is being studied by papal collaborators and the local Orthodox Church, where there is some opposition to the idea of a pope being in Orthodox territory.

Today, John Paul II met at the Vatican with Archbishop Paul Fouad Tabet, apostolic nuncio in Greece.

The Pope will travel to Ukraine from June 23-27, despite the opposition of some Orthodox circles. Meanwhile, the patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church has said the Pope will visit his country in September.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation